Environmental compliance is being enforced stringently upon industries as water becomes an increasingly scarce and expensive commodity. Recycling water for re-use in work processes has become a viable alternative to pure treatment and discharge for many companies required to comply with strict water license stipulations.

Environmental and resource management services are increasing in demand for an ever growing population, with deteriorating infrastructure and loss of essential skills in maintenance, as well as management. There is a massive demand for skills development in the water industry, not only in education and social understanding about the natural resources, but also in maintenance and proper management of the current and existing infrastructures.

Trends and technological advances in Ultra filtration (UF) and Nano-filtration membranes have come a long way as solutions for water treatment, since they were first introduced in the industry. A significant amount of research and development goes into improving these technologies. Most recently mechanical evaporation systems, which ensure effective and environmentally safe reduction in excess wastewater for the mining industry, have also come to the forefront of water management in recent years.

I-CAT director of business development and marketing Lourens Jansen van Rensburg indicates that the company, which caters for both local and international markets, has been awarded several contracts to monitor, manage and recycle water at several mining groups over the years. “Our methods are preferred because we do not believe in using or adding chemicals to wastewater to purify it or to get it to discharge standard. We make mechanical purification systems and have an excellent technical and design team that is focused on innovation and coming up with solutions for challenging projects.”

According to Jansen van Rensburg, I-CAT Environmental Solutions uses a combination of technologies to provide its clients with the best and most cost effective solutions, while maintaining a consistent awareness of the environment, energy and social demands. “Our filtration systems are cost effective, as they have no recurring chemical costs, require low maintenance and are self-cleaning. The technology we use is considered world-leading, affordable and effective. We have developed solutions to clean process water where many older technologies and processes have failed.”

I-CAT Environmental Solutions distributes Hyflux Kristal hollow fibre ultrafiltration (UF) membranes and AZUD filtration systems, which are industrial wastewater filtration solutions. The Kristal UF membrane is installed as a pre-filtration solution that is designed to remove all suspended solids from the water. The AZUD range of filtration products, including the HELIX automatic disc and screen filtration, are used for pre-filtration (micro-filtration) and designed to achieve the most efficient and economic water filtration in various applications.

Hyflux Kristal hollow fibre ultrafiltration (UF) membranes are manufactured from reinforced PES (PolyEtherSulfone) material with a high tensile strength for improved hydrophilicity, low fouling and an asymmetric membrane structure with a high flux rate. It features a consistent high quality permeate, sharp rejection profile, a long membrane lifespan and has a small carbon footprint.

I-CAT Environmental Solutions also developed and released the I-VAP500 in June 2015. It is an evaporation system, which is used for controlled mechanical evaporation of excess waste water in the mining industries and designed to perform optimally in harsh environments. It produces the finest water droplet particles to maximise evaporation and power efficiency. The I-VAP 500 is capable of handling 500 m3 per 12-hour day. The evaporation rate is measured between 60 to 65 percent, depending on ambient weather conditions.

Jansen van Rensburg highlights that I-CAT ensures that no less than 2 000 litres of ambient air is discharged at a high velocity with every litre of water atomised with the system. “It is a critical ratio to achieve maximum percentage evaporation of water pumped into the air. This ensures the column of air does not become dense to the point which it resembles a sprinkler and guarantees the particles do not cluster together, forming a column of water which impacts aerial evaporation.”

The I-VAP500, which is delivered within eight to 12 weeks, is offered in different scopes and options, depending on the site size. It boasts a high velocity air stream and has a large 3.2 mm orifice water fracturing nozzle design to ensure minimal downtime from nozzle blockage, while achieving the finest possible droplet size.

I-CAT aims to introduce more of its evaporation solutions to the international market. “Our aim is to become the market leader in any services related to the environment and to be the ‘port-o-call’ for any such services to our clients. We will start with introducing mobile, compact and autonomous drinking water plants from AZUD in Angola. We will also give maintenance and training on existing drinking water plants from AZUD in Tanzania on a gold mine, as well as scope for a new drinking water plant to increase capacity,” Jansen van Rensburg concludes.